Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

If you're a frequent flyer at Aslan, chances are you've noticed the obscure black and white art hanging on some of the walls. Most of the characters in the art are indistinguishable of sex. Some see them as female-identifying, while some see them as more male-identifying.

I remember one of the first months I worked at Aslan, a woman came up to me at the hostess stand and told me how upset the art made her. She felt like it was was playing with the idea that women are monsters (because it's hard to tell what sex the characters are). I assured her that that was not the intention of the artist, because even though Connor McPherson is almost 7'0", he is one of the most gentle and caring souls you'll ever meet. His smile stretches from cheek to cheek and is loved by so many people because he's just so warm. He met the owners of Aslan on the Fourth of July almost four years ago and they all bonded over how vibrant the fireworks were that year. Since the opening, he's been one of Aslan's main artists and has designed art for the building's insides and outsides. And his art will soon be featured on the labels of Aslan’s new bottle series.

But today's blog post is about the mural in the men's bathroom. What's unique about this mural is that it hasn't always been there. The bathroom used to be lined with Connor's framed artwork, just like the women's. But people started stealing the art from the walls. In attempt to stop the thieves, we nailed the frames to the walls so that they couldn't be lifted out or bent. But surprisingly the nails and bolts didn't stop the thieves and the art continued to go missing! And I'm talkin' people were bending nails and ripping frames from the walls to steal his art... can you believe that?

Obviously we couldn't keep his art in there anymore, so Connor decided to paint a mural of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves on the wall. He said he isn't totally happy with the mural because he didn't get to work on it as long as he intended to, but it's truly a masterpiece. And a clever one at that. I looked up the story of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves and it's a tale of revenge.

A couple of months ago, another one of Connor's pieces went missing in the women's bathroom. In place of the stolen art you'll notice a sweet haiku directed at the thieves, written by some of Aslan's finest poets Celina and Elle. We understand that theft is one of the costs of being a business open to the public. No matter how many good people are out there, it only takes a couple bad cookies to ruin it for the rest of 'em.

If you really love someone's art enough to bend nails, support them! Everyone's got to eat! If you're curious about Connor's art, find it @illustrativewest on Instagram. He's in Australia right now finding new inspirations, but we'll see him again soon!

Until next time,